Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nuthin' But A Nostalgia Thang

Earlier this month, we rightfully mocked Snoop Dogg's new single "Sexual Explosion". In it, the D-O-double G channels equal parts A-K-O-N and T-P-A-I-N for what is unquestionably his worst first single off a solo album. It's since been rechristened "Sensual Seduction", cuz everyone knows alliteration sells!

And, dig the sh*tty video

Anyways, since I'm probably one of the guy's last 500 fans left, I got to thinking about Snoop's other "first singles".

Album: The Chronic, 1992

First Single: "Nuthin' But A G Thang" - Video

TBG Sez: OK, so this was actually Dr. Dre's first solo album, but the ubiquitous first single pretty much made Snoop (Doggy) Dogg's career. The juxtaposition of Snoop's nasal twang and Dre's meandering Neanderthal flow works, while the beat actually does most of the heavy lifting. One of the most influential - if overplayed - cuts in Hip Hop history.

Best Single: Same

Album: Doggystyle, 1993

First Single: "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" - Video

TBG Sez: This one's probably more remembered for its low-budget "morphing" video and accompanying "You don't love me, you just love my doggystyle" line. Folks in Long Beach were losing their minds when this dropped, though. The George Clinton "Atomic Dog" sample would be bled to death in subsequent years and this single would end up taking a back seat to "Gin & Juice", which is arguably Snoop's most identifiable song after "G Thang".

Best Single: "Gin & Juice"

Album: Tha Doggfather, 1996

First Single: "Snoop's Upside Your Head" - Video

TBG Sez: Marred by a three year layoff between solo albums, the departure of his mentor Dr. Dre and the terrible in-house label decision to release this one just a week after Death Row Records dropped Tupac's Makaveli CD, Snoop was fighting a losing battle out of the gate. Snoop answered critics who wondered if he could recapture the magic of his first album with a resounding "hell naw". The uninspired Gap Band sample (and an even more uninspired Snoop Dogg) makes this one of his more flaccid efforts.

Best Single: "Tha Doggfather"

Album: Da Game is to be Sold, Not to be Told, 1998

First Single: "Still a G Thang" - Video

TBG Sez: Produced by West Coast beatmaker Meech Wells, Snoop's first No Limit Records single wasn't as bad as you probably remember. Snoop ditched the mush mouthed flow from his Doggfather album and spit over a sound that was a little more up-tempo than most of his biggest hits to this point. It suckered enough of us into buying this "Master P & His No Talent Friends" compilation album disguised as a Snoop CD.

Best Single: Same

Album: No Limit Top Dogg, 1999

First Single: "G Bedtime Stories" - Video

TBG Sez: Contrary to popular belief, "Bitch Please" wasn't the first single off of this album. I vividly remember watching Snoop appear on The Daily Show and airing a clip of the video. And, the video might be the only thing worse than the song. Not sure if this is supposed to be a tribute to Slick Rick's classic "Children's Story" (probably, since Snoop had previously bitten Rick's "La Di Da Di" track) but it's bad enough to make you wanna put out your (good) eye.

Best Single: "Bitch Please"'s not often that one song saves not one, not two, but three careers. Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Xzibit would be resuscitated from it and, it could be argued, that even Nate Dogg got another 24 months from it for just an "Ayyyyyy-OOP, Ayy-OOP, Ayy-OOP" at the end.

Album: Tha Last Meal, 2000

First Single: "Snoop Dogg (What's My Name II)" - Video

TBG Sez: I still don't get the acclaim that this song got. Timbaland's high-gloss faux-techno production has never done it for me and Snoop seems stuck in neutral, but it picked up a Music Video of the Year nomination from what used to be MTV and sparked speculation out here that this would be the album that brought Snoop back. Meh. The "Double Dutch Bus" sample isn't the least bit effective, but points for the Nate Dogg/Lady of Rage(!) hook...such as it is.

Best Single: "Lay Low"...Dr. Dre's brief renaissance continued with a superb start-and-stop beat. Snoop's underrated Eastsidaz combo had terrific mic presence and the hilariously awful Master P verse at the end is so tacked-on, you can practically hear Percy begging Snoop to let him be on a Dre track.

Album: Paid Tha Cost to be Tha Boss, 2002

First Single: "From Tha Chuuuch to Da Palace" - Video

TBG Sez: And, again, my opinion differs from that of the general public as I loved this song. Nice beat by The Neptunes with random scratches thrown in all over the place. And, while it's light on lyrical substance, this single is one of Snoop's most fun tracks. Still, it really wasn't well received by listeners, who instead clamored for this album's second single, "Beautiful". The public was wrong on that one, too, but that's another post.

Best Single: Same

Album: R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece, 2004

First Single: "Drop It Like It's Hot" - Video

TBG Sez: Three years after it was first released, I'm still torn on this one. The minimalist beat (mostly tongue clicks and a drum machine) was refreshingly original, but this has always felt more like a Pharrell Williams track with Snoop as a bit player. The video was phenomenal, though, and probably had as much to do with the #1 Billboard status this song enjoyed (surprisingly, a first for Snoop) as anything.

Best Single: Same, I guess…but, it's a lukewarm endorsement. So there.

Album: The Blue Carpet Treatment, 2006

First Single: "Vato" - Video

TBG Sez: I like The Neptunes beat a little more than the paint-by-numbers lyricism from Snoop or the B-Real hook over it. These types of "positive" pro-unity songs (in this case, an attempt to cool So. Cal tensions between Blacks and Mexicans) never work as more than a novelty, though. Still one of the better songs on an otherwise hugely disappointing album.

Best Single: "Boss' Life", which I just heard the other day. I remember hating the album version, which features Akon on the hook, but the single/video trades up for Nate Dogg. Sure, it sounds like every other song they've done since 1992, but I knows what I likes.


Anonymous said...

The Last Meal came out when I was in University and a bootleg copy was released on the net which ended up delaying the album and resulting in a bunch of new songs and guest appearences on the actual album. I still have the bootleg on my computer and I think it's a way better album. Basically no guest appearences, only Snoop and some LBC guys like the Eastsidaz and Soopafly and it's all in-house production, so it has a focused sound.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I'd forgotten about that, but you're right. The original was bootlegged to death, then the final version ended up on Death Row's website as kind of a final "f*ck you" to Snoop.

A few of the better tracks ended up on Tha Eastsidaz's second album in 2001 (a crazy underrated release, IMO), but Snoop pulled together a lot of intended outtakes for Last Meal.

Mathan said...


"Deep Cover" is the song that made Snoop's career. Even I was interested in hearing more from Snoop back then.

That Bootleg Guy said...

We're probably just arguing semantics, Math, but "Deep Cover" put him on the map, while "G Thang" blew him up.

NickA said...

I will now construct a best of snoop mix and you will IM the songs I don't have.

Tom said...

Mathan & TBG: I'd never heard of Snoop until "G Thang", so you can probably use that to settle your argument... and that was when I was still watching MTV, listening to broadcast radio with alarming frequency, and *sigh* buying Cassette Tape singles.